There’s a lot of hype about making money online, and how best to earn recurring passive revenue quickly. With this talk comes a common question: do affiliate programs work?

The short answer: YES. Affiliate programs do work.

As a startup CEO and internet marketer, I truly believe that it is possible for anyone to earn consistent, meaningful income online. That said, there are way too many scams and get rich quick schemes out there. Success as an internet marketer only comes if you’re willing to put in a lot of hard work.

Think of Your Online Business…As a Business

Yes, there are people who strike it rich practically overnight, and those people are often plastered all over the news and blogosphere. The fact to remember is that for every individual who makes millions (billions?) easily are thousands of people who are earning a consistent, predictable income over time.

Like any business, success online does not usually come quickly. According to the SBA, most (traditional) businesses fail within 3-5 years. Online businesses are no exception. The difference, however, is that online businesses often take very little upfront investment, when compared to their brick and mortar counterparts. Therefore, the risk/reward payout can often be much higher.

Affiliate marketing is a business. You must work in order to see results, but if you invest the time and effort in teaching yourself how to become successful, followed by the energy to implement any of the top affiliate marketing plans, I guarantee you will eventually find success.

Get the Necessary Training

Like any business, and just about anything in life, there is a learning curve for starting an online affiliate business.

If you expect to see serious results, it is worthwhile to invest in training.

Fortunately, there are tons of programs out there to help you with this process. One of the best and most easily accessible programs is Wealthy Affiliate, because they offer a free introductory course on how to design and implement an affiliate business. I outline how to get started with the Wealthy Affiliate Work From Home program in another post.

Stay Motivated

One of the main differences between affiliate marketing and other types of business (eg: direct sales businesses) is the time it takes to realize progress and profits.

Due to the nature of how search engines rank websites, it is difficult to generate significant traffic to a website in the first few months. Most new marketers give up before the 6 month mark. They spend a lot of time developing a website and are discouraged when they don’t see any results quickly.

Unfortunately, this problem could be solved simply by understanding how search engines work. It often takes 3 months for any new changes to show up in search results, and up to 6 months to see real improvements in a website’s traffic. This means that most new affiliates give up precisely when they should be buckling down and pressing forward. A few more months of diligent work could be the difference between failure and success.